Habinteg barred from building

A housing association which has hundreds of homes in the Derry area is currently banned by a government department from building, it’s emerged.

Habinteg has 1,700 dwellings on more than 40 housing schemes right across the North. A third of all its homes are in Derry and it also has developments in Limavady, Dungiven and Strabane.

The ban was put in place after the Department of Social Development (DSD) found some of the homes failed to meet certain standards.

Habinteg is responsible for building and maintaining social housing.

Six other housing associations across the North have also been told to stop building homes.

Habinteg - which is currently awaiting “re-inspection” of its housing stock - said it had responded “positively” following the audit inspection which took place in 2009.

It said it had drawn up an action, agreed with DSD, to resolve any outstanding concerns and was “proactively driving through improvements to ensure best practice and full compliance with all recommendations.”

Chris Williamson, director of the NI Federation of Housing Associations, says provision of social housing will not be affected.

“Our sector is a very strong, sound and resilient sector,” he said. “There has been no impact on the overall social housing development programme... Of course, I am concerned that the highest standards are achieved. But it is not the end of the world. The programme was delivered. I am confident that this year’s programme will be delivered.”

The seven associations affected were told they could no longer build homes after they failed inspections that looked at issues such as governance, finance and development.